MANILA –With the number of positive coronavirus cases went on a sudden rise, the Department of Tourism had little choice left but to "yield" to tons of public health concerns in the thick of placing the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal back under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ).
"This will hopefully pave the way to a safer and more resilient resumption of tourism activities in the future," the DOT stated.
According to the DOT, in the Philippines, the Holy Week "has always been a strategic opportunity for growth in the tourism sector."
But, this is the second year where many Filipinos have to suspend their plans to go to churches for the Visita Iglesia or traveling to other provinces for leisure, as the coronavirus struck harder leaving every plan hanging.
"Given the recent surge in Covid cases, our goals for the sector will have to yield to public health concerns," the DOT said.
Moreover, the DOT greatly appreciates the hotels and airline companies for making it possible for travelers to rebook without any penalties in accordance with the Government's decision on putting the provinces under GCQ.
The Philippine Airlines announced on its Facebook page that all the passengers 'traveling for leisure' is not allowed on its flights starting March 22 up to April 4. This was after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Disease (IATF-EID) temporarily suspended travel flights.
On the other hand, passengers affected by the sudden change can convert their tickets to a "travel voucher with 10 percent bonus and valid up to two years," provided that the travel voucher is requested on or before June 30, 2021.
Another option suggests is "unlimited rebooking," for it doesn't have any additional rebooking fee until December 31, 2021.
"If you will be completing your travel in the same booking class by June 30, 2021 (or ticket validity, whichever comes first), there will be no fare difference charge," PAL said.
Lastly, passengers can also refund their tickets "without penalties."
Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific Airlines presented options to its passengers affected by the travel suspension. Such as rebooking their flights for free, credit in a two-year "travel fund," or refund it through their booking portal up until two hours prior to their flight schedule.
Source: Philppine News Agency (PNA)